Notes on the table: The customer score is based on a survey that was conducted from September to October 2021 with 4,438 members of the general public who have current accounts.

We were unable to provide a rating for the product offered by the bank wherever you see “n/a.”

Will my student bank account allow for an overdraft of up to its maximum limit?

It’s not always the case; the majority of these overdraft restrictions don’t come with any sort of guarantee. Your eligibility for an overdraft will be determined on an individual basis by the bank and will be dependent on your credit score; therefore, it is possible that you will not receive the maximum amount that is stated.

In other circumstances, interest-free overdrafts are rolled over into subsequent billing cycles:

According to TSB, its students will get at least £500 for the first six months of the programme. Students will have the opportunity to request for an increase to £1,000 in the seventh through ninth months, and up to £1,500 beginning in the tenth month.
Students in their first year who open a Lloyds account receive an additional £500 within the first six months of account ownership, £1000 within the seventh month, and £1500 within the tenth month of account ownership.

A select few financial institutions demand additional forms of collateral in order to be eligible for the entire overdraft:

Nationwide FlexStudent: pay in at least £500 per term from the date the account is opened (this can include your student loan, money from family members or any other income but not internal transfers, such as moving money from a Nationwide savings account); Santander 123 Student: pay in at least £500 per term to remain eligible for both the free Railcard and the interest-free overdraft (as with Nationwide, this can’t include transfers from other Santander accounts in your nationwide account

Scroll down for a discussion of this year’s freebies offered by student bank accounts as well as an explanation of what happens if you go over your overdraft limit.

Student checking accounts that come with free railcards and other perks.

Santander continues to provide the most valuable student account bonus for the 2021-22 school year.

It will continue to offer a free four-year Santander Railcard, which has a value of approximately £90 (while four-year cards are not generally available for purchase, three-year Railcards cost £70, and one-year Railcards cost £30).

Although Santander does not provide the highest interest-free overdraft, the bank does promise that if your application is approved, you will receive the maximum overdraft amount of 1,500 pounds in the first, second, and third years.

Be informed that in order to be eligible for this offer, you will need to make a payment of at least £500 per term as well as enrol for internet banking (and the overdraft).

The following is a list of the additional freebies that are being offered this year:

HSBC – £80 plus £20 Uber Eats coupon or ASOS Premier

This year, HSBC is also providing an enticing incentive to its customers in the form of a cash bonus of £80 in addition to either a £20 coupon for Uber Eats or ASOS Premier membership (which gives you free next day delivery for a year).

In order to be eligible for the £80 and reward, you will need to apply before the 31st of December 2021 and make at least five payments using the HSBC debit card that is linked to your student account. Payments for gambling and financial services, such as credit card insurance payments, cash withdrawals, and card-to-card payments are not eligible for this reward.

If you were already a holder of an HSBC Student Bank Account on June 1, 2017, or later, you will not be eligible for this bonus offer.

£50 plus a four-year Tastecard from NatWest or RBS

The NatWest and RBS student accounts come with a cash bonus of £50 and a Tastecard that is valid for four years and can be used until November 5th, 2021.

Within the first thirty days of opening your account, you will need to sign up for online or mobile banking and select the option to get paperless statements in order to be eligible for the incentive.

If you meet the requirements for the promotion, £50 will be deposited into the account you provide within ten business days.

Tastecard users may receive food at thousands of restaurants in the UK for half off or two for one, in addition to receiving savings at the movies (you will need a smartphone to access this perk).

Bank of Scotland/Lloyds: TOTUM card valid for three years

If you open a student account with Bank of Scotland or Lloyds before October 31, 2021, you will receive a free TOTUM card that is valid for three years. However, this offer is only valid for new accounts.

You can get discounts on high-street and online shopping with the TOTUM card, which was formerly known as the NUS extra student discount card. This card can be obtained via the NUS.

A subscription to Barclays’s Perlego offering

Perlego is an online library that specialises in academic and non-fiction books. Once again, all new clients of Barclays Student Additions will be eligible to receive a free 12-month subscription to Perlego.

You have till the 30th of November 2021 to open the account.

You will receive an email containing a registration number and instructions, which you will need to redeem by the 31st of December, 2021.

Student checking and savings accounts that accrue interest

The vast majority of financial institutions have eliminated student interest payments.

Santander will not pay interest on credit balances on a monthly basis anymore (in the previous year, it paid 1 percent AER on amounts up to 2,000 pounds).

In the past, Nationwide offered an interest rate of 1 percent on balances up to £1,000, and first-year students with HSBC received interest at 1.5 percent above base rate on balances up to £1,000; however, both of these offers have since been limited.

At the moment, Halifax and TSB are the only financial institutions that provide students credit interest payments.

The interest rate paid by Halifax is 0.1 percent on any balance, while the interest rate paid by TSB is 5 percent on balances up to £500.

What will happen if I go over the limit on my overdraft?

If you remain within your free limit when utilising an overdraft on any of the accounts in our table, you will not be subject to interest charges or other costs for making use of the overdraft feature.

Get in touch with your financial institution so that you can formally request an increase in your credit limit if you find that you require further financial assistance. However, the majority of financial institutions will charge you a “arranged” or “planned” overdraft interest rate if you request an extension to your free limit.

If you exceed the limit of your free overdraft account without being authorised to do so, it may have a negative impact on your credit score, and some banks may charge you fees for payments that are returned as unpaid.

Although Nationwide does not assess any fees, it does set limits on your account. These restrictions prevent you from withdrawing cash or using your card until the balance on your account is brought back within the limit that was agreed upon.

How can I set up a bank account for my student status?

You must be at least 17 years old to apply for a student account; the minimum age requirement varies from provider to provider and is listed in the table above.

Student bank accounts provided by Barclays, HSBC, and Santander are now available to degree apprentices who are in the first year of a qualifying course. In addition, these accounts are available to students attending universities.

You will need to provide proof of identity (such as a passport, birth certificate, or driver’s licence) as well as proof of address in order to open a checking account.

You will also need the UCAS confirmation letter from your institution (or a copy of your Apprenticeship agreement signed by your employer) in order to demonstrate that you have been accepted without condition.

If you have a conditional offer from a bank, they may take a copy of your A-Level results as proof of your eligibility, but you should check with them first.

Is it possible to apply online?

Even while the majority of banks will let you start the application process online, they may ask that you visit a branch with evidence of identity before you can actually begin using it. This is typically the case if you are applying for a credit card.

An exception is made by Barclays; students can open an account in a matter of minutes by installing the mobile banking app, uploading a video of themselves taking a selfie, and scanning an identification document that contains their UCAS code.

You will be required to submit your application in person at a branch in order to finish it if you do not have a UCAS code.

I am a student; is I allowed to open more than one bank account?

It is not possible to open numerous student bank accounts with the same provider, and some providers, such as HSBC and Nationwide, require that you do not already have a student account in order to apply for one of their student accounts.

Others, such as Barclays, NatWest, RBS, and Santander, require that you use them as your primary student account; consequently, even though you might be able to open a second student account with these banks, they retain the right to close it if you’re not making payments from your loans and other sources of income.

It is important to keep in mind that having access to a greater overdraft can be problematic because you will be required to repay any debt incurred from student overdrafts once you have graduated.

You have the option to apply for an additional regular current account that does not have an overdraft capability. Additionally, digital banks such as Monzo and Starling offer innovative smartphone solutions that could assist you in managing your student loan and keeping track of your spending.

I’d like to switch my student bank account, is it possible?

You are not required to continue working with the same service provider for the entirety of your programme.

Every account listed in our table is a part of something called the “switch guarantee,” which indicates that you can move student accounts in a matter of only seven days.

Before making the transition, you should make sure that your new financial institution will honour your current overdraft rate of 0 percent and provide you with the same terms as other students who are enrolled in the same academic year.

When I graduate, what will happen to the money in my student bank account?

As soon as you receive your diploma, most financial institutions will upgrade your student account to a graduate account; however, you should compare the offer with those of other financial institutions just to be sure.

Some graduate accounts are only available to students who already have an account with that particular financial institution (Bank of Scotland, Lloyds, Nationwide, Santander), but the vast majority of graduate accounts are available to anyone who has graduated from college within the last two or three years.

When you graduate, the amount of money you can borrow without incurring interest may suddenly decrease; therefore, you should make preparations in advance if you want to avoid incurring significant fees.

What exactly is an alumni account?

Current accounts that are specifically designed for graduates are offered by most high street banks. These accounts typically come with large interest-free overdrafts for a period of up to three years.

Annual limitations can range anywhere from £1,000 to £3,000 and often decrease on an annual basis in order to motivate you to start paying off your overdraft balance.

When you apply for most graduate accounts, the bank will ask to see your degree certificate in addition to other forms of identification and proof of address. This window of eligibility often lasts for two or three years after the completion of your programme.

Do I absolutely need to create a graduate account?

Even if you start working as soon as you get your degree, it is still a good idea to have an interest-free overdraft for a few more years as a safety net.

If you are confident that you won’t need to borrow any money, you should turn your focus to accounts that offer you interest for being in credit or other perks such as cashback on household expenses. If you are not confident that you won’t need to borrow any money, you should focus on getting a loan.

If you use the majority of the provided benefits, packaged accounts can be more cost-effective than individual accounts. Which? conducts an annual analysis of the value of the insurance that is included in these accounts in order to determine the packaged accounts that are the best and the accounts that are the worst.

When I graduate, should I look into changing banks?

If you already have a student account, by the time you graduate from university or college, your student account will be upgraded to a graduate account automatically by your bank.

But if another bank is providing a better deal, there is no reason to continue doing business with the same financial institution.

Students are a desirable long-term prospect due to their significantly increased earning potential; this is true even if the student has existing debt.

Can I switch if I have a negative balance?

Yes, but you’ll be responsible for repaying any overdraft fees and balances.

If your new bank is willing to provide a comparable overdraft, then this won’t be a problem for you, and you can still utilise the seven-day switching service to switch banks if they are willing to do so. You might not be allowed to make the transition, though, if it won’t match the overdraft limit that you currently have.

You shouldn’t make the transfer until you’ve talked to your bank about it first because some financial institutions want you to pay back the entire balance within a short period of time after you close an account with them.

Will I be allowed the maximum amount of an overdraft?

Certainly not in every case. You’ll notice that most banks define interest-free overdrafts as being ‘up to’ particular restrictions; consequently, the amount you’re granted may end up being lower than what was advertised as the limit for the overdraft service.

The majority of overdraft policies for student accounts are tiered, meaning that they gradually increase each year; consequently, you could not acquire the maximum amount until your final year of schooling.

Before applying for any kind of loan, it is a good idea to look into your credit score and see where you stand financially. This page provides a free tutorial on how to accomplish this task.

It is important to be aware that if you have never taken out a loan before, your credit score may be lower than you anticipate. This is due to the fact that lenders typically look for evidence of previous timely repayments.

What happens if I go over the limit of my 0% graduate overdraft?

Try to stay inside the boundaries of your interest-free limit.

The majority of financial institutions will make an effort to halt payments before they resort to unplanned overdrafts; but, if this does occur, it may have a negative impact on your credit score.

If you find that you require additional funding, speak with your financial institution about the possibility of obtaining a planned overdraft at the cost of interest (EAR).

What options do I have once my graduate agreement is up?

Your current account will be converted to a conventional current account two months before your graduate deal is set to expire. You will receive notification of this change from your bank at that time.

This should be one of its fee-free current accounts – for example, Nationwide’s FlexGraduate becomes a FlexDirect account – but you should be sure to examine the terms and charges that will apply before you open an account with them.

The Current Account Switching Service makes it possible to switch financial institutions in a matter of just seven working days, whereas the majority of people continue with the same bank or building society throughout their whole lives.

Although some financial institutions provide one-time cash bonuses for switching checking accounts, you shouldn’t let this be the main factor in determining which account to go with.

Our ranking of the best and worst banks, based on consumer feedback, indicates how actual account holders feel about their financial institution, and Which? The recommended providers not only provide high-quality goods but also outstanding assistance to customers.

What happens if I still have a negative balance when my graduate account is closed?

If you still have a negative balance when your graduate account comes to an end, after two or three years, you run the risk of being penalised with interest and penalties, which can quickly add up to a significant amount of money.

You should verify your credit score before applying for an interest-free overdraft on a regular account, as only a few financial institutions provide this perk. First Direct is the most liberal of these institutions, providing overdrafts of up to £250 at 0% APR.

You also have the option of transferring your debt to a credit card that offers an introductory period of zero percent interest on balance transfers. This will allow you to give yourself some additional time to pay off your debt.

Should I submit an application for a loan for graduate school?

It’s possible that your bank will only provide graduate loans to customers who already have a current or graduate account with them.

Always look around at other lenders for personal loans and compare the rates.

If you are considering furthering your education, you should know that the Student Loans Company provides master’s degree loans with a maximum amount of £11,570 for classes that begin after August 2021.

You won’t have to start making payments on the loan until your salary exceeds a particular threshold; the present barrier is £21,000 a year, which works out to £1,750 per month or $403 per week.